Sigismund von Neukomm – Orchestral Fantasies; Sinfonie Heroique / Willens


Sigismund Neukomm (1778-1854) was considered to be one of the most accomplished of composers during his lifetime. Born and raised in Salzburg, he was a student of both Michael and Joseph Haydn. His music remained true to classical principles well into the romantic period, so much so that toward the end of his life, he was considered by some to be rather a relic of an earlier age. His career took him from Salzburg to St. Petersburg and later to Brazil where he popularized the music of Mozart and Haydn.

The four works on this cpo CD, three orchestral fantasies and the Grand Sinfonie heroioque, were written over a period of nearly thirty years between 1806 and 1833. The earlier works, while perhaps rather simple, are tightly constructed and exhibit the influence of Haydn and Mozart. Neukomm’s gift for melodic writing emerges in his later pieces, such as in the lovely opening section of the Dramatic Fantasia on some passages of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Throughout all four works, there is evident a great dramatic sense, some sections worthy of Beethoven.

Neukomm’s music has been lost to us in the shadows of such composers as Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann. But any listener interested in hearing something fresh in the style and manner of this time is sure to enjoy Neukomm’s work. Music lovers can again put their hands together for the cpo label for shining a light on another extraordinary composer who has been lost in the shadows of the greats.